Labour has pledged to introduce new legislation to improve poor families’ access to fresh fruit and veg if elected.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth announced that the next Labour government would pass a 'Future Generations Wellbeing Act', following the example of Welsh Labour, which has already implemented a similar law.
The Act will require health services, public bodies and the government to take account of population health and wellbeing, now and in the future, when making their decisions.
Ashworth also committed £26.8 million to the existing ‘Healthy Start’ programme, which is aimed at providing children in deprived areas with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Speaking at the Fabian Society’s Summer Conference on 29 June, he said: “Today, a baby girl born in Liverpool can expect to live 13 fewer years in good health than a baby girl born in Richmond. It’s an injustice we cannot ignore.
“After nine years of Tory austerity, advances in life expectancy have ground to halt, and even gone backwards in some of the poorest areas. Shamefully, infant mortality rates – children dying before their first birthday – have risen three years in a row for the first time since the Second World War.
"The next Labour government will adopt a comprehensive, cross-government national strategy to tackle health inequalities, attacking the wider determinants of ill health and putting prevention first.”
The MP for Leicester South added that the proposed new legislation "will mean local health services, alongside relevant public bodies, will always act to reduce health inequalities and promote overall wellbeing too”.
“It will mean our NHS, as a local ‘economic anchor’ institution in communities, takes account of the social value of every pound spent and takes its obligations to climate change seriously,” he said.